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Ideas for Classroom Use

Henry Smith's Letter Home

Point of View Writing Assignment

Ask students to imagine that they are in Henry Smith's position in the Union army.  Have them first research the important battles that were occurring around this date, and then write a letter home to their families discussing what they've seen during their time on the front line.

Common Core State Standards Connections

Reading for Informational Text, Grades 3-5

Standard 1 – Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.

Standard 3 - Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text.

Writing, Grades 3-5

Standard 1 - Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.

Standard 3 - Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.

Standard 9 - Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

Writing, Grades 6-12

Standard 1 – Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.

Standard 3 – Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well structured event sequences.

Standard 9 – Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

Reading for Literacy in History/Social Studies, Grades 6-12

Standard 2 – Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.

Writing for Literacy in History/Social Studies, Grades 6-12

Standard 1 – Write arguments focused on discipline-specific content.

Standard 9 – Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

Worksheet Activity: Document Analysis

As you read this letter, fill out the Document Analysis worksheet located in the sidebar.  As you read further into the letter, do you find your answers change?  Allow students to analyze the letter as though they are detectives, taking one page at a time to figure out more and more information about the author.

Common Core State Standards Connections

Reading for Informational Text, Grades 3-5

Standard 1 – Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.

Standard 2 – Determine the main idea of a text and explain how it is supported by key details; summarize the text.

Speaking and Listening, Grades 3-5

Standard 1 – Engage in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade-level topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

Standard 2 – Paraphrase portions of a text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.

Speaking and Listening, Grades 6-12

Standard 1 – Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade-level topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

Standard 4 – Present claims and findings, emphasizing salient points in a focused, coherent manner with pertinent descriptions, facts, details, and examples; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.

Reading for Literacy in History/Social Studies, Grades 6-12

Standard 1 – Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, attending to such features as the date and origin of the evidence.

Standard 2 – Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.